For many, the start of a new year is like a page of a book being turned. It is the perfect time to start over a new leaf and plan something to improve yourself. According to a survey conducted by YouGov in the US, the most common new year resolutions that people aim for are as shown below:

Image source: Statista

Most of these resolutions are simple, achievable and impactful of most people’s lives. But, I am sure everyone has seen the people around them (and themselves) fail miserably to even make a dent in these resolutions. In this blog post, I will explain some simple tips and tricks to help you get through the whole year while maintaining your resolutions! So, no more saying “I’ll try again next year!”.

1) Be S.M.A.R.T.

The biggest mistake most people make is not being S.M.A.R.T. enough. What is S.M.A.R.T. you might ask?

S = Specific M = Measurable A = Achievable R = Relevant T = Trackable

Some people might recognise this acronym from a Business Studies textbook, or from a cliche presentation you once watched when you were younger. But, there is definitely more to it when you apply it to your new year resolutions.

Resolutions like “getting more fit” or “saving more money” sound great, but what do they really mean? Well, if you switched it up and made it more specific and measurable like – “lose 5 kilograms before the end of this year” or “save 30% of my pocket money every month… doesn’t it sound more achievable and trackable already?

As for relevancy, it depends on the situation. There is no point in aiming for a C in your exams when you already consistently get As for every test. There is also no point of a famous pop singer aiming to perform at least once before the year ends, when they have shows every other week. It is great to have goals, but do not underestimate yourself. Ensure that your goals are relevant!

2) Getting support

Have you ever heard of the phrase: “It is not me, it is you”? Sometimes, this can be applied to new year resolutions. How many times have you skipped a day at the gym because of someone tempting you with food? How many times have your plans to save money been ruined, all because of a friend telling you to “just buy the shoes, you won’t regret it”?

Ensuring a “safe” environment for your resolutions is important, and the first step to ensuring that is to come clean to your friends. Make it clear that your resolutions are very important to you and ask for their support. Get them to point it out when you are doing something against your resolution (eg. window shopping online when you should be saving, ordering a soft drink when you want to lose weight) or even help you out with the resolutions (eg. going to the gym together, grocery shopping together to shop more healthier).

Image source: Albawaba

Including your friends in your support system can help them to think about and even maintain their own resolutions. So, it definitely is a win-win for both of you!

3) Schedule and anticipate

Most of us usually fail in achieving our new year resolutions. So, we end up repeating the same few every year. At this point, we are all experts when it comes to knowing how and where we fail – which makes it necessary and helpful to take out a few hours at the start of the year to plan.

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Anticipate the times when you feel you would mess up, and how you would mess up. If you get sidetracked by friends asking you out to have expensive dinners, schedule a “cheat day” once a month and stick to it. Knowing that there is a “cheat day” will ensure you obey your spending rules for the rest of the month. If you know you get distracted by sweet drinks or junk food in your house, remove them from your house and allow yourself to indulge in one, perhaps only every 2 weeks.

Taking a few minutes out of a day or a week to invest in maintaining your resolutions is key. If your resolution is to lose weight, ensure your workouts are on the same day every week. If your resolution is to save more of your money, invest an hour every week to go over your income and expenses.

Eventually, all of these tasks will become habitual. At one point, your urges will definitely weaken and less effort would have to be put into maintaining your resolutions – you would have an easier time with doing your tasks and not feel lazy about it.

4) Reward yourself

All of us love getting rewarded – whether it is with words, something tangible or results – we love it. If you are the type to be easily motivated by this, keep it in mind throughout your entire journey. It does not have to be anything excessive or big – it can be as simple as having your favourite meal after a good workout or buying a shirt you have been eyeing on after saving for a few months straight.

Knowing how to reward yourself is extremely important, and makes your end goals more desirable. Frequent rewarding also ensures that you keep going – this is especially important, if your end goal is something that needs maintaining. Yes, you might end up losing 5 kilograms at the end of the year, but does it matter if you gain it all back by the next?

Image source: All4Women

According to a study done by the University of Scranton, only 8% of people achieve their new year resolutions. So, if you are 8% of the population, you are pretty amazing. So, if you make it all to the end, go big and go all out for yourself!

“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”

– Vern McLellan

All the best and good luck for the year 2020!

Featured image credit: Pan MacMillan

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